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Seeking Insurance on Homes More Than 50 Years Old

The idea of bucking the modern, metropolitan newly built home in favor of an historical home built more than 50 years ago might seem romantic to some buyers. After all, as a recent study on insuring older homes notes, “Historical homes offer glimpses into different eras, architectural styles, and the lives of those who once called these houses ‘home.’”

The authors of that report add that, “while historical homes add character and charm to a city, they also come with their fair share of costs — a unique insurance plan is a big one.”

Residences built more than 50 years ago require specialized coverage, in most cases. That is due to factors such as outdated plumbing, wiring, and building materials.

Owners of these historical properties may need to consider high-value homeowners insurance or more robust coverage options, according to data analysts at Assurance IQ, who looked at information from the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places to uncover which U.S. cities and states have the most registered historical homes.

One would be hard pressed to find a major U.S. metro area without some historic or preserved neighborhoods. Here are those cities that seem to most value the humble cottages, Gilded Age mansions or mid-century mid-sized ranch houses of yesteryear.

Topping the list is New York City, with 802 registered historic  homes.  Think NYC’s  “Millionaire’s Row,” where this 11,638 square-foot James F. D. Lanier House is listed on Zillow for $33 million.

Portland, Oregon ranks second on the list with 616 registered historic homes.

At number three on the list is Philadelphia. Bear in mind that Philly includes a few permanently off-the-market houses, such as national attractions the Betsy Ross House, Cliveden, and the Powel House.

Philly is followed by St. Louis, Missouri and Chicago at fifth rounding out the top five.

When looking at the percentage of historically registered homes, based on populations (home per 100,000 residents), the top cities are Sandusky, Ohio; St. Augustine, Florida; Poughkeepsie, New York; Ashland, Oregon; and Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is famous for its opulent mansions, and was a vacation spot for elite families, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors. A few of those mansions had names like "The Breakers" or "Marble House," and are now tourist attractions that offer a peek into the extravagant lifestyles of the Gilded Age era.

States with the most official historical homes include New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, according to the study, which also lists the most historic-home populated city for each state, at assurance.com.

The authors of the report conclude that the specialized home insurance coverage and possible tighter HOA oversight is in many cases worthwhile, as historic homes and neighborhoods “add character and diversity to neighborhoods that new builds often lack.”

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at [email protected].

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